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Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure Paperback – Apr 13 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (April 13 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767915747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767915748
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.4 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MR G. Rodgers on July 18 2004
Format: Paperback
This book seems to have caused great offence - due either to its cover or its content, or both. I'm neither a Hindu nor Indian so I've no idea whether or not the cover is offensive. However, the UK version appears different to the US one, which gives rise to the question: did anyone bother to check before it was published in the US?
Skipping past the issue of the cover, what of the content? Well, I thought that there was little in the book which taught me anything more about India than I'd read elsewhere (for example by Mark Tully and William Dalrymple). Thus once again you get a description of the Kumbh Mela, a trip to Kashmir, visits to ashrams - pretty much the usual stuff. The difference is that those other writers did it better, with deeper insight, greater balance and more respect for their subject.
Much of the writing and observations in this book are distinctly shallow - the trip to Mumbai to learn about the Parsis, and the ravings about Sikhs made my toes curl. In different ways, the author did a disservice to both. Apparently India is a "land of contrasts" - a stunning insight. Whether or not her descriptions of the attitudes exhibited to her by Indian men are true, I don't know. Neither do I know whether she is stunningly attractive, or whether the appearance of any white woman in India is enough to send Mr Average Indian into a sexual frenzy, but it did seem a bit far-fetched to depict every Indian as a lecher. Oh, and apparently it's OK to ogle Ms MacDonald so long as you do it in Sydney!
The author goes to various ashrams and religious establishments, arrives sceptically, is moved by the experience, then shakes it all off. Or not - she blames a sadhu for her pneumonia and a Hindu saint for her expanding boobs. Large sections of the book are devoted to how she looks, how her friends look, and recounting screechy conversations between the girls. All very irritating, shallow and vain.
(...)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jan on March 11 2012
Format: Paperback
I was hopeful at the beginning that this book would give some humourous insights to the vast and wonderous land that is India. But it was not to be. On the whole it seemed a sweeping and unfair generalization of the people that make up this incredible land. Ms MacDonald proved to be so careless and so biased in her views that her humour failed miserably. It was not a journey worth going on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kriti on July 2 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm an Indian and I've lived in India for most of my life. I read this book to attempt to understand a foreigner's perception of India. Each page made me feel humiliated by the sweeping generalizations that Ms. Macdonald makes about Indian men, women, religion, belief, society and culture. I cannot even begin to point out the mistakes she has made or explain how angry I felt while reading this book. She tries to clump people together as if every Hindu, Sikh, Muslim or Buddhist behaves and thinks in the same way as she described. Every person who visits India will have a different experience and if you want to write a book, you only need one sentence - Nothing is predictable and no generalizations can be made. In my opinion, if you want to learn about India, stay away from this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Morris on Feb. 23 2009
Format: Paperback
I too have lived in India as a Western foreigner. I got this book during one of my living experiences there and laughed out loud regularly while reading it. It is a good fun read!

You will likely learn a thing or two about India, but really I don't think that this is what the book is truly for. I see that there are those who are offended by her generalizations and the fact that the book really only scrapes the surface of India - culture and religion. This book is not a learning tool. It is however, nothing to be offended by.

For a foreigner living in India (different than traveling), it is an amazing and intense experience. India is so different than what we know that you often need to come at it with a great sense of humor. This is what Sarah McDonald does. The craziest, strangest experiences you never thought you would be having happen to you in India. For me this book was a reflection of that. When I miss India, I read this book.

I generally hate reading other people's travel writing. It just makes me jealous. And really one person's experience is that - just one persons experience. But I love this one. If you would like a lighthearted read by a humorous woman who came to love India through daily living experience and laughter this is the one.
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By Ian Murray on April 23 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I happened upon this book one day in a Chapters bookstore, attracted by the title and the cover. I have a place in my heart for India and it's people, though I have never been there. I loved this book, and many of the people and situations Sara described have stayed with me, and still make me smile many years later. No, it's not great literature, but it's a wonderful adventure told by a delightful and alive young writer. It's a shame that people take themselves so seriously, and are so defensive, that they can't smile at themselves and their culture.
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By Samir Panday on Feb. 16 2006
Format: Paperback
Must read for people planning to travel to India.
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Format: Paperback
Amazing book i picked it up on Amsterdam airport could not put it down till i finished it. Must read for someone planning to visit India.
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Format: Paperback
Are you happiest when you have a backpack strapped to your back with a sense of adventure in your heart? Then this book is for you.
Especially if...
*you love to travel
*have a sense of adventure
*are curious about eastern religion and
*have ever had a remote interest in India.
The author is from Australia and follows her boyfriend, who works for the BBC, to India. Its witty and fun with serious bits like a good main course. Highly recommended.
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